February 15, 2011

Chicken Stew & Dumplings - Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, & Dairy-Free

Baby it's cold outside...means its got to be chicken and dumpling time. But hey, how do you make grain-free chicken and dumplings? Or do you call it chicken and pastry?

I have been on a quest to figure this out the past month. I admit my heart sinking a few times as I played with dough and dropped it into the boiling water wondering if I was going to risk ruining a perfectly good pot of chicken stew.

One particular day, I took great care in rolling out the pastry, as I had remembered my grandmother doing this.  For a few brief minutes, I transported back to my childhood to the moment where I watched my grandmother making dumplings. You know those moments that are somehow etched in your memory forever?  It was if time stood still and I remembered the brightness of the daylight streaming in the window shadowing my grandmother as she stood by the stove. All the details magnified.  (Why this particular moment?  I don't know, but it's there in my mind.)  Then I dropped the carefully rolled out dough into the pot of boiling stew and quickly I came back to the real moment when the pastry completely disappeared when it hit the water! Well, needless to say, that was way too much work for the result- a thick chicken stew.  We loved it, but not practical.

I kept trying just because my boys were cheering me on.  As long as they were eating it and happy, I kept working. 

Most of the time I don't measure the ingredients in this recipe, so don't worry about being exact here. It's kind of fun after doing tedious grain-free baking to be able to free style cook once in a while. ;)  This recipe has never failed even when I have made it practically backwards! 

Comfort food at it's best!

Chicken Stew & Dumplings -
   Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

Chicken Stew Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 stalks of organic celery, chopped roughly
  • 1 organic onion, chopped roughly
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt
  • filtered water
  • 3 pounds organic boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper (depending on your preference)
  • 2 teaspoons marjoram
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup coconut milk, lite

Chicken Stew Instructions:
Heat approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil In a large soup pot
Add to the pot:
4-5 stalks celery, chopped roughly
1 onion, chopped roughly
1 teaspoon sea salt

Cook vegetables until slightly tender; about 5 minutes.
Remove vegetables from pot and puree in a vita-mix or blender. (This is a great way to hide those veggies!)

Remove the pot from heat and add about 3 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs.
Add just enough filtered water to cover the chicken.
Add the pureed vegetables back to the pot.
Place soup pot back on the stove.
Add seasonings: sea salt, black pepper, and marjoram. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to low; simmer for at least 30 minutes or until the chicken is done.  (This is a good place to simmer longer if you have the time. The chicken will fall apart the longer it cooks.)
Remove chicken and set aside on a cutting board to cool.
Cut the chicken into small pieces and return to the pot.

Add 1/2-3/4 cup of coconut milk, lite
Stir together.
At this point you can continue cooking stew on low.  Stirring occasionally.
Or proceed to make dumplings.

Dumplings -
   Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Dumpling Ingredients:

Dumpling Instructions:

Mix together:

1/2 cup coconut milk, lite
1/2 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
Set aside.

In a separate bowl mix with a wire whisk:     
3/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoon grain-free baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt

Use a fork or pastry cutter add to the flour mixture:
2.5 tablespoons organic palm shortening
until is a coarse crumb

Then add the milk/vinegar and stir well; until smooth.  You may need to add extra coconut milk to make it smooth. 
Bring the stew to a rolling boil.
Using a spoon, add small amounts of dough, one at a time.  Be sure to keep the stew boiling while adding the dough.
When all the dough is added to the stew, cover the pot and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.  The time will depend on the size of your dumplings.  I like to make smaller ones, so there are enough to go around.
Test a dumpling to be sure they are cooked through.


  1. Wow this sounds great. My husband will be excited to see this grain-free recipe too. It's so good to see you posting recipes. I love it.

  2. I placed an order with Tropical Traditions recently but I did not order the palm shortening though I thought about it. I had no idea what I would use it for to buy so much of it though. I was wishing they sold a smaller quantity. But now I see it's pretty versatile so I may get some next time.

    I was going to use it in Sophie's grain-free birthday cake recipe but I am going to stick with coconut oil this time. I hope it comes out well.

    We have her on a grain-free diet now to see if her skin improves even further beyond just being the typical gluten-free.

  3. Thanks, Heather. I think dumplings are interesting. Many different varieties for sure. My boys never had dumplings with gluten and I was used to pastry that was rolled out so this is what we came up. I have no idea if this is what traditional dumplings taste like. Maybe we have invented a new thing?

    I use the Tropical Traditions since you told me about them being a nut-free faciltiy. I like the palm shortening in my chicken pot pie crust and now this recipe. It does last me a while.

    I will be interested to hear
    Sophie's response to the grain-free diet. It sure appears to me that the grain-free diet has been great for us.

  4. This looks so yummy! My family doesn't really like quInoa though so do you think another grain such as millet or rice would work as well? I know you have said you tried many different things.
    Can't wait to try this!

  5. Dear Anonymous -

    I think you could make these with millet or rice or a combination, but I haven't tried them this way. My experience with quinoa is that it requires more liquids so if you change the flour try a little less milk and shortening to begin with. Quinoa is heavier and needs the tapioca flour, but I bet you could just use your rice/millet for all the flour I have listed and leave out the tapioca or use less. I hope this helps. Please let me know how it goes!

  6. I have never had any desire to eat dumplings, gf or not, but your dish looks really, really good, Debbie! Love that it is grain free, too. I especially love that you said you can't mess it up. ;-)


  7. Hey Shirley,

    You made me laugh! I understand about the dumplings so I find your comment highly complimentary! ;)



  8. Waw!! Your soup looks so comforting, nourishing & great!!

    I love you healthier gf dumplings too!

    I will make these dumplings tomorrow with my hhome made soup from last night!


  9. Mmmm - what delicious sounding comfort food. It's cold and dreary hear today and this sounds spectacular!

  10. Thanks, Sophie! I hope you enjoy them!

  11. This is really good on those cold days! Now that the weather is getting warmer my son is eating this cold from the frig!


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